North Bergen, whose pool is closed because the land it was built on is contaminated, had already voted to accept the agreement to use the Secaucus pool. But Secaucus councilmen haggled over the details at the March 26 meeting, pondering whether to put a cap on the total number of North Bergenites who could come there.
Bob Kickey, one of the two 2nd Ward councilmen - in whose ward the pool is located - agreed to vote to give North Bergen residents a group discount, but only on the provision that Secaucus residents get priority for bringing in guests on weekends.
John Bueckner, who serves as the other 2nd Ward councilman, said he had received numerous calls as well and wanted to cap the total number of North Bergen residents allowed to use the pool, and to not give the North Bergen residents a group discount.
The discount would shave $50 off the basic membership cost.
Bueckner argued that the pool has other out-of-town residents who are required to pay full price for membership, and that a sizeable number of those who use the pool are not from Secaucus.
Last year, of the 1,400 season ticket holders, 556 were from outside of Secaucus.
Kickey said he had also received calls from people in Hoboken about the discount, and said giving it to North Bergen and not to others might be unfair.
Third Ward Councilman John Reilly, however, said North Bergen had helped Secaucus out in various areas, including in the testing of fire equipment, that Secaucus had an obligation to offer the discount.
Town Administrator Anthony Iacono said most of the North Bergen senior citizens would likely be using a pool in Palisades Park anyway.
"The only way we can cap the number of people coming to use the Secaucus pool is to stop all out-of-town residents," Iacono said. "This resolution simply gives them the discount."
By a 6-1 vote, the council approved the agreement without any changes, giving North Bergen the discounted rate.
Bonds introduced on several significant projects
Also Tuesday, the council introduced three large bond ordinances.
The largest bond would provide $3 million towards the repair of Castle Road. The cost of the repair of the privately owned road in the south end of Secaucus would be assessed to the property owners, after which the town would take over ownership and maintenance of the road.
The council also voted to approve a $1.2 million capital improvements bond. Included in this is $850,000 for construction of a band shell in Buchmuller Park, a 1,000-seat outdoor entertainment space.
Bueckner voted against this bond, saying the bonded price was much higher than anticipated when the project was approved. Iacono said bids for the project came in about $200,000 higher than expected, but urged the council to move ahead with the project despite the difference.
The council also introduced a $1 million bond that would pay for computers and furnishings inside the new library. Iacono said this bond would be paid off by revenue derived from a billboard along the side of the New Jersey Turnpike. Last year, the Friends of the Secaucus Library signed an agreement that would provide about $55,000 a year from the billboard company.
Keystone redevelopment plan approved
The Secaucus Planning Board approved a redevelopment plan for the Keystone Metal Finishers site on Humboldt Street on March 19 and sent it to the Town Council for approval. This is the first step in what will likely be the sale of sections of the property. The move broke up the property into eight lots that could see one- or two-family houses in the future. If and when the town moves ahead after water contamination is cleaned up, it would auction off parcels.
The plan was required by the state government in order for the town to received a $385,000 grant to clean up the property. A factory formerly on the site resulted in the contamination of the deep water table beneath that property and some properties east of it. The town has authorized a cleanup, but has been seeking grants to help reduce the cost. The sale of property would also be used towards offsetting the cost of cleanup. 2nd Ward gets a new election district
As part as the redistricting of the Secaucus election wards, the 2nd Ward has picked up a new district. The area from the Maple Street ramp along the east side of Radio Avenue to the south side of Huber Street was moved back into the 2nd Ward after the 2000 census.
This area includes the condo development at 2 Radio Avenue, all of Valley Court, James Street and Gail Place, as well as about a dozen houses on Huber Street. Second Ward Councilman Bob Kickey said the area has been designated as the 5th District. Michael and Valerie Harper were named district committee persons for the Democratic Party.
Michael Harper currently serves as a legislative aide to state Assembly Speaker and West New York Mayor Albio Sires. Although these blocks were removed from the 5th District in the First Ward, Mayor Dennis Elwell said enough voters remain in the 1st Ward section to maintain five districts there. The new arrangement has five districts in the 1st Ward, five in the 2nd, and four in the 3rd. Each district has two committee people and the change gives Secaucus two additional committee votes countywide.